I was just at a TNT event in Milwaukee (thanks Stone Creek Coffee for hosting!) and ran into a listener who is not in the coffee industry. He was telling me about how much fun he is having at this TNT and how glad he was to have seen a simple poster hanging up by the door that told him about the event. He then went on to tell me my next podcast needs to be on this exact topic of “Why Your Cafe Should Host a TNT: and since customer service is so near and dear to me, Andrew, your wish is my command, enjoy.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” – Simon Sinek
In February 2015 I took the opportunity to work a booth at the Natural Products West Expo in Anaheim, California. While I was there I met Joanna from Honest Tea and she shared a story with me that was amazing. This 11 minute episode is inspired by our chat.
For more pictures be sure to checkout my Instagram account: @Audio_Cafe
- 1:00 Joanna from Honest Tea
- NationalHonestyIndex.com recording if people are stealing or paying for tea
- Joanna: “We’re honest with our ingredients, and we just want to see how other people feel about honesty” totally on brand
- Take your brand name, mission, product, then connect it with your customers in a new and unexpected way. As you go, what other information can you discover and share with more people along the way?
- Coupon for free tea on Facebook, simply post 1 of 3 inspirational quotes, 95% success rate of taking the coupon and posting the quote
- WillItBlend.com making a video of what they were already doing in front of customers
- Do something totally unique and on brand for you company
- See you at the 2015 SCAA / WBC, booth #3005. We’re going to chat about ice quality next week
- 1:00 “What’s more important, the coffee or the customer?”
- You can be proud of your products, but if you’re snobby about it then you’ve missed the point of serving people
- You can humbly tell people that you think you have the very best coffee or products. Always be ready to share WHY you think you’re the best, sharing through education NOT arrogance. Can you celebrate your industry with your competitors? If no then you may be arrogant
- 4:00 coffee from someone who loves coffee
- 5:00 have taste testing, if you think you have the best coffee in town then put your money where your spout is and offer refunds for not serving great brews
- 8:20 how do you prepare you staff to talk to customers, do you script answers for your staff? Jack Groot: “We would give them the education and information they need and then let them share it in a way that they felt was correct for the customer.”
- 11:00 Would you use Kickstarter to start a business, how do you feel about debt?
- 15:30 Should you open a cafe where there are no other coffeehouses? Should you open a cafe if there s a Starbucks near by? What should I do if Starbucks is opening by my coffeeshop?
- Links to some of Jack’s blog posts that I picked out for you:
- A Little Time Stamp to Help You Navigate Topics by Time
- 1:00 – Intro
- A harem of hipsters, deal breaker?
- 6:00 – We are rarely 100% present with our customers
- Randy Jackson “Music is a serious thing in here for you, but for the public it’s pure enjoyment”
- When you are with your customer, take care of your customer
- “When I can serve someone else that’s when success can follow”
- “Without the customer you only have a hobby”
- “Remember your passion is meant to be a gift to others in the expression of a well made coffee beverage. Your passion is for you to explore, the results are for your customer to enjoy”
- 16:00 – How long did it take you to realize you were in the people business?
- “My goal was not to sell you anything, my goal was to make you smile”
- 20:00 – Does it have to be good coffee for it to be special?
- What if you don’t realize your coffee is gross?
- 25:00 – Find someone to teach and lead you
- If you own a cafe you’d better know the details, you’d better know good coffee, or how do you stay in business?
- Its easy to look down on someone who isn’t as advanced as you, how can you learn and improve everyday?
- 27:00 – Flavored coffee, necessary evil?
- 28:00 – “If your expression of coffee does not resonate with the demographics in your area you will fail”
- You can teach someone a new skill, but if the business owner is not inherently good at business, this will be a hard venture
- 29:00 – Can a small town support a pour over brew bar?
- Start with just having a ‘good cup of coffee’ before you try to re-create the Taj Mahal of coffee
- If you don’t make money then you don’t really have a business
- 31:00 – Be better than the other guys around you
- Chick-fil-A is elevating their coffee game (33:00 hands down great coffee)
- Thrive Coffee
- Good coffee is good for everyone
Thanks again Jack Groot for coming on and sharing your enthusiasm for running a business. For more about Jack, visit CoffeeGroot.com
- Links to some of Jack’s blog posts that I picked out for you:
I was chatting with Matthew about what the 5th wave of coffee may be, then he opened up and shared his vision of a better world. A world where every piece of the coffee experience is market by excellence. This is definitely a silly poke of fun at the idea of artisan register skills but don’t overlook this key piece of the customer’s experience with you (or your brand). Everything we do can be better!
How often do we put the newest member of our team on the front lines ringing people up? Are we thinking at all about the customer experience when we make that call? Are we training people how to engage with customers before hand? Rarely so.
Reasons to Visit Coffee Origin
I would think you agree that baristas and roasters, anyone else in the coffee industry should consider traveling to coffee origin to see a farm in production for themselves. Its a wonderful time and some see it as a ‘right of passage.’
Knowing that some baristas are having a hard time showing the value of visiting coffee origin, I asked Christian Ott, the Director of Coffee from Stone Creek Coffee, to come and share his thoughts.
Personally, I’ve been to origin before, and Christian brought up some great points that I hadn’t even seen. Wonderful stuff.
Some of the questions we cover:
- When did Stone Creek Coffee start visiting origin?
- What if a customer cares more than you do?
- How did you pick the first origin?
- How does it improve your personal coffee skills?
- How does it elevate the team?
- “I’m finally going to origin” statement by barista rubbing Levi the wrong way.
- What assumptions about origin need to be removed?
- Water Avenue Coffee in Portland covers a % of the cost to visit origin, is this a good idea?
- At what skill level should a barista consider an origin trip?
- What types of updates should you give your customers and staff?
- Besides coffee quality or origin conditions what type of information are you bringing back to your staff?
- What is the value for the farmer to host your trip?
- What is the most important thing to keep in mind when at origin?
Kenny Buckley is a friend of mine and is the Executive Chef at Airways Brewing in Kent, WA. I reached out about cooking with coffee, he gave me some advice, then we hopped on a call. No recipes in this episode, just mouth-watering-ideas that are surprisingly easy to employ.
Ken Buckley Bio:
Ken found out about Airways through a meeting of the Impaling Alers, Kent’s homebrew club. “It was love at first sip when I went to my first Cask Thursday in February of 2012. Tickle Your Zwickel was on tap that night.” After offering his services when the Bistro needed backup, Ken became a full-fledged crew member in August of 2012.
Ken has made his mark behind the scenes with flavorful new dishes, and is now responsible for menu and team development during an upcoming kitchen expansion. “I hope to ‘come original’ with some of the tastiest foods that Kent has to offer. I also expect to contribute to some mean food and beer pairings, and I’m awaiting the next brew that Alex is ready to challenge me with.”
Ken brings with him a wide range of experience including culinary training at the Art Institute of Seattle, and work in a variety of culinary outlets including a local winery, where his taste for local, original, tangible culinary arts blossomed.
When he’s not homebrewing or cooking, Ken is a family guy with two boys and a lovely wife. His six and eight year olds even help separate their homegrown hops for homebrewing.
Favorite Airways Brew: Jet City ESB. “It’s the best of both worlds (hops & grain), and also does an amazing job bubbling around bratwurst or completing the perfect beer batter.”
- Time guide to show you what was covered:
- Dry vs brewed coffee
- pH levels in cold brewed coffee
- Whiskey barrel aging
- Making desserts
- Can you re-use the barrel?
- 12:00 (Woodenville Whiskey)
- Grilling with open flame
- Different ingredients and how they work with coffee
- Tofu, terriaki non-chicken dish
- Coffee can help tenderize lamb, bring earthiness to flavor, works well if you balance it with vinegar as well
- White meats work well with cold brewed coffee (think ginger, scallion, yuzu, citrus).
- You want coffee to be the background flavor not the forefront
- What can you make in a café?
- Why isn’t your menu working out?
- Talk to your clientele/staff and learn what is/isn’t working on the menu
- How does the food compliment with your beverages
- People want something that is your personality, when they love you they know what’s you and what’s not
- “Guided freedom” how much should you rely on your staff to create menu items?
- Build a team that compliments your skills, allow your staff to lean on their unique skills
- Give your team some guidelines like the ingredients your shop has on hand, then let them be creative and unique
- Parting 3 questions
- John Matthia
- Cold brew on tap
Thoughts from Visiting the new flagship Starbucks Reserve location
This is not a complete description of the Starbucks Reserve location, but select observations from visiting it between Christmas and New Years. If you don’t like Starbucks then you may not like this episode ;-]
Link to my bullet point blog post, with additional links about Starbucks.
I found this article which has 10 predictions that I totally agree with. You can see them all here.
Building off that list I wanted to add some of my own food predictions:
- Video Blogs Replacing Menus
- Voting Online for the Next Direction
- From main dishes to cocktails, restaurant managers will be taking notice from KickStarter and letting the public in on what they have in mind, allowing them to vote a head of time.
- In the end this will create super fans who can say “I voted for this dish” and now have to order it, and will allow restaurants to populate their menu with the most popular pre-selling dishes.
- Guest Chefs or Culinary Icons Crossing Food Genres
- I’m looking forward to seeing more experts combining forces for one unforgettable experience. Like Kaldis Coffee Roasters in St Louis, who periodically creates a restaurant popup and hosts meals with coffee. They feed up to 30 people up to 9 courses! Nine! Every one of them has coffee (their coffee of course) as an ingredient in the dish. All of the wait staff and chefs are actual employees, from baristas designing menus, loading dock workers creating desserts, to the Marketing Manager playing chef for the night.
- No More Secrets Between Competitors
- In the coffee world I am already seeing direct competitors sharing their secrets with each other. The truth is the coffee community is tight, and there are a lot of friends serving the same customers. Rather than trying to protect their secrets more businesses are embracing their differences as a marketing point. Maybe they have realized there is enough business to go around for everyone.
- Turning a Job Into a Career
- Telling the History Behind the Food or Drink
- Who invented Irish Coffee? Why is it a Tom Collins, or Arnold Palmer? What difference does Saigon cinnamon make over another cinnamon? These new menus will explain why that ingredients matters and create a connection through stories. It will also be a great springboard for conversations between guests.
Anything I missed? Better yet, if you have seen one of these please let me know on Twitter (@Boyrista) or in the comments.
Why Your Cafe May Be Slower After Christmas
- People may be broke from all the holiday shopping
- People are on vacation and not in their routine or out of town
- People gave each other gift cards to cafes and so they are being used, or gifted coffee and coffee brewers
- People are on diets and though you may have the same visitors, they may not be spending as much money
- People are ‘Cutting back on coffee’ specifically (this is why you need great tea options, you don’t want them to change their routine)
I was fortunate to have 7 years of experience working with coffee before opening my own shop or I would have been terrified about my sales numbers between Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Its just a slower time for coffee sales in suburban areas (like where I was). No way around it.
Take my advice and don’t do anything drastic. If you have the opportunity you should plan your vacation time around this slower period.
As they say, being anxious is just allowing your creativity to work in reverse.
Instead of fretting, take this slower time to immerse yourself in the community around you. Here’s a blog post I wrote with 7 reasons to visit your local competition: (Boyrista.com/Competition).